The HGTV Star Who Called Out Social Media Platforms For Hiding Her Posts

HGTV stars Erin and Ben Napier have been transparent about keeping their daughters off social media until after high school. The couple, who are parents to Helen, born in 2018, and Mae, born in 2021, have talked passionately about the dangers that social media and technology pose to the mental well-being of their children. To champion their cause, the "Home Town" hosts even created a non-profit organization known as Osprey, an acronym for Old School Parents Raising Engaged Youth.

The operation focuses on sharing resources and connecting families of similar mindsets, which is one of the Napiers' key strategies in raising their children without technology. "When we change the culture around 'everyone has it except my child' by linking arms with other parents in our communities, we set our children up for success before peer pressure can take it from them," the Osprey website states.

While she's passionate about keeping her kids off social media, Erin hasn't been afraid to utilize her online platforms to spread her message. She originally took to Instagram back in 2023 to promote the launch of the Osprey newsletters, going on to advertise subsequent opportunities and commemorate organization events. However, her anti-technology stance has supposedly not gone over well with social media platforms, and the HGTV star has accused Instagram of suppressing her posts.

Erin believes Instagram has suppressed her Osprey posts

In a February 2024 interview with People, Erin Napier accused Instagram of suppressing her Osprey-centered posts and compared their engagement with her other photos. "[Osprey] posts get a tiny fraction of the views that my usual posts do, which is disturbing," she said. "I think social media should be the adult town square for sharing information. But if you're only able to share selective information, that's scary."

Scrolling through the "Home Town: Take Over" star's Instagram page, you'll notice that her posts typically receive 20,000 to 50,000 likes. While Napier's original Osprey posts gained a similar amount of attention, receiving over 25,000 likes, a graphic promoting ticket sales for an Osprey event and a clip from one of the organization's panels have received less than half of the likes. Napier attributes this discrepancy to Instagram, a platform that continues to come under fire for allegedly shadowing posts and users.

If you're unfamiliar with it, "shadowbanning" is when a site or app limits the reach of someone's posts without notifying the user. Due to the backlash they received around the practice, Instagram introduced a feature in 2022 that allows users to see if posts are no longer being recommended and why. It's unclear if Napier utilized this feature to confirm that the app suppresses her posts, but her experience goes beyond these engagement differences.

The HGTV star says the app wouldn't let her share photos

Erin Napier's Instagram use was further disrupted when she attempted to share photos from an Osprey event in March 2024. Both Napier and other community members were seemingly unable to upload their celebratory pics, and the HGTV star took to her Instagram Story to talk about the odd occurrence.

"Something really weird happened," she wrote, sharing a photo of a phone displaying an Instagram error message in the next slide of her story. "Meta wouldn't let images of our #ospreykids logo be tagged in any photos by anyone and wouldn't allow anyone to tag me or ben," Napier continued. "It would seem that the powers that be would rather our kids be staring at phones than living their real lives, doing, playing, adventuring. So it's best to try to shut us up. We are bad for business, baby."

While the HGTV star suspected something was up when her main feed posts weren't receiving the normal amount of engagement, the odd error messages received by the Osprey community members seemingly confirmed her theory. In her Instagram story, she also shared a handful of messages from other friends reporting that Napier-tagged photos would be flagged on Instagram or Facebook or unable to be posted at all. "If the ways big tech is censoring good causes doesn't worry you, it should," she wrote.